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Research Report

Situating the Future of BRICS in Changing Global Dynamics

Arina Muresan
Wayne Jumat
Edited by Philani Mthembu
Designed by Kenny Dlamini
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2017
Pages: 15

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. ii-ii)
  2. (pp. iii-iii)
  3. (pp. 1-1)

    With preparations for the 9th BRICS Summit under the Chinese Presidency in progress, question marks on the future of the BRICS are repeatedly raised. The following symposium, organised into a panel discussion, breakaway sessions, and plenary, sought to explore some of the future scenarios of the BRICS in changing global dynamics. It looked into existing power dynamics in the grouping, with Russia, China, and India vying for influence, while South Africa and Brazil seemingly lagging behind as they confront various domestic challenges.

    Bringing together over 50 stakeholders from government, academia, think tanks, civil society, business, labour, embassies, and other non-government...

  4. (pp. 1-3)

    The address introduced South Africa’s participation in BRICS by noting the various activities: i) The BRICS Leaders meet at the BRICS Summits on an annual basis as well as on the margins of the G20 Summits; ii) The Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations meet annually on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Sessions and, as required, the National Security Advisors meet annually, as well as the other Ministerial tracks as outlined in the Summit Action Plans (supported by preparatory Senior Officials’ meetings); BRICS Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs/IR also meet annually to discuss issues in respect of...

  5. (pp. 4-6)

    From this address, the panel discussants were afforded the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss the position of South Africa in the BRICS partnership. A number of thematic areas were discussed:

    Prof Serges Kamga agreed agreed that there is motion towards multipolarity but that the issue of human rights centred development and locating human rights within the BRICS partnership is vital. Economic growth would be meaningless if human development does not drive the agenda. As a reality, poverty is often considered as a by-product of the West, colonialism and institutionalised discriminative methods of interaction. BRICS has the potential to be...

  6. (pp. 6-7)

    The most prominent issues that drove the discussion of this session was the ownership of BRICS and associated power dynamics. Discussants asked where we, as individuals, members of civil society, business stakeholders, decision-makers etc., fit into BRICS and who may have ultimate ownership in the partnership. The general public still needs the government to communicate effectively on “What is BRICS and where does South Africa fit in?” General comments revealed that confusion still exists with regard to simple information as well as more nuanced information on “what is the meaning of BRICS in Africa, who is benefitting from the engagement...

  7. (pp. 7-8)

    This session interrogated how South Africa is able to leverage its position within BRICS, in order to navigate the prevalent power dynamics. Furthermore, it set out to consider issues related to the idea of a BRICS Plus outreach forum.

    It was generally observed that South Africa had its own interests that it seeks to pursue despite being viewed as the “smallest” country in the BRICS group. Seeking to answer the question of how South Africa can leverage its position necessitated an interrogation of what South Africa’s interests are, as well as its strengths that made it visible and respected within...

  8. (pp. 8-8)

    With many policy decisions emanating from individual BRICS member states as well as declarations from the annual BRICS summits having a bearing on South Africa’s domestic and foreign policies, it becomes ever more important to have an informed public dialogue in order to bring about maximum benefits from South Africa’s BRICS membership. Through the dialogue series, the Institute for Global Dialogue and the South African BRICS Think Tank will continue to seek to contribute to an informed public dialogue on some of the most important developments within and amongst the BRICS countries. The dialogue series thus serves as an interface...

  9. (pp. 10-10)